Get familiar with the the top 2017 NFL Draft prospects from HBCU schools.
Football prospects from HBCU institutions don’t attract much national media attention. So we figured we’d get you in tune with the top HBCU prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kourtney Berry, LB, Alabama State (SWAC)
Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 210
Berry took home 2016 AFCA NATIONAL FCS SECOND TEAM ALL-AMERICAN (COACHES): He ranked 10th in the SWAC in tackles per game with 6.6, racking up 66 stops. Berry was also tied for fourth in forced fumbles with three and added two sacks.
Berry is a ball of energy on the football field. His motor never stops and he has an innate ability to find the football. Berry is a bit undersized for an NFL linebacker and some teams may look at him as a safety. But, he has the frame to add 10 pounds and maintain his quickness. He’ll also be an attribute on special teams.
Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T (MEAC)
Ht: 5-6 | Wt: 180
Cohen, a 2016 FCS All-American, closed out his career at N.C. A&T with an astounding 5,619 yards rushing. In addition, he finished fifth in the national voting for the Walter Payton Award given to the nation’s top FCS offensive player. The star back ran for a single-season school record 1,588 yards, breaking his own record from 2015, when he ran for 1,543 yards. Cohen also broke the all-time MEAC rushing record during a nationally televized game in 2016.
Cohen is the most electrifying player in HBCU football. The diminutive running back is shifty and has sudden feet. His lateral quickness is off the charts. He’ll get looks from scouts as a change-of-pace back and return man.
Bryant Frazier, DE, Virginia State (CIAA)
Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 270
The senior defensive lineman at Virginia State University finished the season ranked second in the CIAA with 10 sacks. He tallied 29 total tackles, including 22 solo. Frazier was named CIAA Defensive Player of the Year following the 2016 season.
Frazier is on the small side for an NFL defensive lineman and may be asked to move to 3-4 OLB on the next level. Regardless, Frazier is a tenacious pass rusher who will be a tough cut in camp.
Will Johnson, K, Winston-Salem State (CIAA)
Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 170
Johnson went 13-for-22 with a long of 50 yards on field goals in 2016 on his way to being named All-CIAA as a kicker and punter.Johnson was also named CIAA Special Teams Player of the Year.
Johnson has a powerful leg and thrives on kickoffs. He has a thin frame and could stand to gain core strength to improve his accuracy and consistency. Kicker is a tough position to break into in the NFL, but Johnson has the tools to play in the league.
Javancy Jones, OLB, Jackson State (SWAC)
Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 245
Jones was named a BOXTOROW and STATS FCS All-American. Jones, who was also selected as an All-SWAC first team member, made the BOXTOROW first team and landed on the STATS third team. He racked up 82 tackles and four sacks with 19.5 tackles for loss in 2016.
Jones is an active, feisty defender who can do a bit of everything from his linebacker position. Fast, instinctive and explosive, Jones may be the most complete HBCU prospect eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft. He showed, over and over again, that he is more than just a pass rusher. He will have to adjust to more coverage responsibilities on the NFL level, but he shows the awareness in space to accomplish that. Jones will also contribute on special teams from day one.
Javarius Leamon, OT, South Carolina State (MEAC)
Ht: 6-7 | Wt: 310
Leamon was named first-team All-MEAC after the 2016 season, capping off a dominant career at SC State. At 6’7, 310 pounds, he possesses above average lateral quickness and the necessary reach to capture the edge on outside zones. Leamon may be one of the more naturally gifted offensive tackles in the entire draft.But, it’s up to him to realize that potential.
To overcome lapses in his game, he needs to become an every down player and eliminate the inconsistencies in his technique. He has an unnerving tendency to lose focus and allow his technique to get sloppy. Leamon will look to follow in the footsteps of former SC State offensive tackles James Lee and Johnny Culbreath on his way to the NFL.
Paulin Miano, DE/OLB, Virginia Union (CIAA)
Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 266
Miano finished with 11 sacks and 25 tackles for a loss in 2015, placing on the radars of NFL scouts. He managed only 1 sack in his 2016 campaign, after receiving an abundance of attention from opposing offenses.
Miano has the requisite size, length and athletic ability to maintain the interest of NFL clubs. Miano will need to post elite numbers in offseason workouts to offset the drop in production. Both 4-3 and 3-4 teams will look at Miano as a pass rush specialist and hig-ceiling developmental prospect.
Aris Scott, WR, Delaware State (MEAC)
Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 215
Scott hauled in 40 receptions for 533 yards and 4 TD in 2016, not bad for a wideout in a run-heavy offense like Delaware State. With the size and speed to excel on the NFL level, Scott has the skillset to get his shot in the league. Again, his work in offseason workouts will go a long way in securing his opportunity to hear his name called in the draft and land on an NFL roster.
Grover Stewart, DT, Albany State (SIAC)
Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 295
Stewart was named first team All-SIAC following the 2016 season. Stewart is a big defensive tackle with the length required to handle the trenches of the NFL. Stewart would be an ideal fit as a 5-technique defensive end, as he has the strength to take on blockers and agility to pressure the quarterback.
Steward must improve his pad level and hand usage, which are both frequent knocks on young defensive linemen. With NFL coaching and training regimen, Grover Stewart has the tools to carve out a successful NFL career.
Lenard Tillery, RB, Southern (SWAC)
Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 210
Tillery led the SWAC in rushing yards (1,665), rushing touchdowns (13), all-purpose yards (1,972) and total touchdowns (15). He also became the SWAC’s all-time leading rusher this season. Tillery is a two-time first team All-SWAC selection. Tillery finished his decorated Jaguar career with 4,857 yards and 45 touchdowns on the ground.
Tillery has the size, feet, acceleration and vision to play on the NFL level. As witnessed by his superb production, he is also quite durable. Tillery has a real shot of being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft on day three. If he’s healthy throughout training camp, look for Tillery to make an impression during preseason.
Brian Walker, DB, Fort Valley State (SIAC)
Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 196
Walker, a first team All-SIAC selection in 2016 filled up the stat sheet for the Fort Valley State. He registered 69 tackles (41 solo), 12.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 6 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 5 pass breakups…and a partridge in a pear tree! Needless to say, Walker was all over the field for the Wildcats.
Walker has elite ball skills and plus physical traits for an NFL defensive back. At his size, he can play cornerback or safety, depending on the scheme / situation. The one thing he must prove in workouts is that he has the requisite long-speed to run with NFL receivers downfield. Walker could hear his name called on day three of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Javoris Wilburn, OT, Albany State (SIAC)
Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 315
Named an All-SIAC first team selection for the second consecutive season.
Wilburn is a 6’4, 310+ offensive lineman who wows NFL scouts with nearly 35 inch arms and a powerful punch. Wilburn has proven to be one of Division II’s best offensive tackles, especially in the run game, throughout his career.
With his feet and length, Wilburn has prototypical measureables for and NFL offensive tackle. Wilburn will absolutely benefit from and NFL weight room and training schedule, as he could stand to add strength to his game. If impressive in camp, Wilburn could find himself a roster spot in the NFL next season.
Willie Quinn, WR/KR Southern (SWAC)
Ht: 5-5. | Wt: 148
Quinn was named first team All-SWAC in 2016, as a receive and special teams performer.
Qiuinn is a lightening quick, exciting player with the ball in his hands. He produces as a returner, as well as a receiver. His obvious size concerns will limit his ceiling on draft day, but he definitely has the physical tools to find a niche in the NFL. If he can catch on in the right situation, Quinn would benefit a team by lending his quick-strike abilities.